Chelsea marked their Champions League return with a 6-0 Group C rout of Azerbaijan’s Qarabag, but sterner tests await.
Goals from Pedro, Davide Zappacosta, Cesar Azpilicueta, substitute Tiemoue Bakayoko and a Michy Batshuayi double ensured a comfortable return to Europe’s elite after last season’s first absence since 2003-04.
Chelsea next play Atletico Madrid with the saga surrounding Diego Costa rumbling on, before home and away clashes with Roma. It is those games which will determine the Blues’ progress or otherwise.
What they saidChelsea boss Antonio Conte: “It was a good start, a perfect start for us. To play the first game (of the) Champions League, then to win with a good result, to score many goals, to finish the game with a clean sheet. I saw a lot of positive things tonight.”Qarabag manager Gurban Gurbanov: “The game was very difficult for us. Chelsea played very good. Chelsea is a favourite for the tournament. We made lots of errors and I accept we must play even better. But I am satisfied with the way we played.”
Tweet of the match
Star man – Willian
Qarabag had simply no answers to the Brazilian’s movement and wit. Laid on the opening goal for Pedro with a smart pass, and stretched the visiting defence all night.
Moment of the matchDavide Zappacosta’s long-range strike was clearly a mis-hit cross, but still stands out from the crowd on a comfortable night for Chelsea. The Italy star raced the full length before firing into the net from a tight angle on the right wing, echoing Harry Kane’s first strike in Spurs’ 3-0 Premier League win at Everton on Saturday.
Stat of the matchThibaut Courtois became the first goalkeeper to make a Champions League assist since Fraser Forster in 2012, when he rolled the ball out for Davide Zappacosta to race the length of the field before blasting home.
RatingsChelsea: Thibaut Courtois 7 (out of 10), Cesar Azpilicueta 8, Gary Cahill 7, Andreas Christensen 7, Davide Zappacosta 8, Cesc Fabregas 7, N’Golo Kante 7, Marcos Alonso 7, Michy Batshuayi 7, Willian 9, Pedro 8. Subs: Eden Hazard (for Pedro, 58 mins) 7, Tiemoue Bakayoko (for Kante, 62 mins) 7, Antonio Rudiger (for Azpilicueta, 74 mins) 7.
Who’s up next?
Chelsea v Arsenal (Premier League, September 17)